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Letter: Levy is crucial to the schools

,Minnesota 56573
Minnesota 222 2nd Avenue SE 56573

If you are not directly involved in the schools you may not realize just how crucial it is that the levy pass. I work as a para-professional at Heart of the Lakes Elementary.

I see firsthand how stretched Perham-Dent staff is in every area, from custodial to technology, teaching to administration.

I have heard complaints in the community that there are too many para-professionals in our school system, which is disappointing. The truth is, para help is at a bare minimum. General education (vs. special ed) teachers do not have para support except to help those students with needs so great they cannot be met in a regular classroom.

Think for a moment what it's like to be the customer of a business that is short-handed and underfunded. Service just isn't at its best, even if there is potential for greatness and existing staff are top-notch hard workers. The customers of Perham-Dent Schools are children who come to these buildings to receive an education.

For some, it might be the only place they get a smile and a good meal, much less the skills to go on to college or a trade school. In every classroom, from kindergarten through 12th grade, one finds kids with an incredible range of needs. Expecting teachers to meet these diverse needs in over-crowded classrooms and with minimal resources is unrealistic. Settling for less for our children is not the answer.

I encourage voters to spend an hour in one of Perham-Dent's classrooms. You will understand that supporting our schools financially by voting yes for the levy is the right thing to do.

Trish McClellan